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Dogs for safety, security, and survival

cyrusMan and dog have been best friends for years. For over 30,000 years according to archaeologists. Dogs have been domesticated longer than any other animal, and have evolved and been bred to attune to human behavior.

For centuries, humans have used dogs to help them hunt, for protection, and even in battle. Dogs were a part of humans’ survival plans for thousands of years. So there is no reason they cannot be a part of yours!

Over the past few decades, humans have begun harnessing dogs’ natural abilities, such as their sense of smell. For example, dogs have an ability to smell that is at least 10,000 times as powerful as a human. The percentage of the dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is actually 40 times larger than that of a human.

For this reason, dogs have also been trained to assist in areas such as narcotic and bomb detection. And dogs are now being trained to detect such things as cancer and low blood sugar in humans. Cancer, etc have a chemical reaction that dogs can detect!

Yes, for over several millennia, humans and dogs’ lives have been intertwined. And that isn’t stopping anytime soon. According to the US Humane society, over 83 million dogs are kept as pets in the US alone. And hopefully, you have plans in place for taking care of Fido in the event of a disaster.

Now if you are like me, not only do you have emergency plans in place for your dog, your dog might actually be a part of your disaster planning. For me, my dog provides a line of security and defense, both in every day situations, and should everything ever go to hell in a hand basket!

When it comes to using dog(s) as part of your survival plan, I would categorize their usefulness into 3 groups:

Hunting

Dogs can be a huge boon when it comes to hunting, namely birds, small game, and in some cases boar. Hunting dogs are usually either “scent/tracking” dogs like hounds, or “gun dogs” like retrievers and setters. There are also “sight” dogs, like whippets.
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What you NEED to know about long term water storage!

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Ozarka stack-able gallon containers – part of my water storage at home

Having clean drinking water is the third most important aspect of being prepared and ready in the event of a disaster. (Your need for oxygen is first, and keeping your core body temperature at 98.6 degrees is second!)

Unfortunately, when it comes to water, many people will either a) not store any water at all, or b) put back a few gallons and figure they are all set. But if you are looking at long term planning, than that is simply not enough!

Everyone by now should be familiar with the rule of storing at least a gallon of water per person per day, for a minimum of three days. And if you weren’t familiar with it, you are now.

If you are like me, you are thinking MORE than just 3 days worth of water. Instead, you are looking “long term”. You know that in many cases, a 3 day supply may not be enough, and you want to be prepared in case something more substantial happens. So now what?

Well, let me give you some guidelines and ideas to help you prepare your long term water storage and purification plans.

Storage Containers

Knowing which containers you can safely store water in of paramount importance to water storage. Using the wrong containers can easily pollute your water and make it undrinkable. So here are some quick tips when it comes to water storage containers:
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Long term power outage? What to eat first

What's in your fridge?

What’s in your fridge?

I’m sure that every single person who lives with electricity has, at one time or another experienced a power outage. Or at the very least woke up some morning with all of their clocks flashing 88:88. The occasional power outage is just a fact of life.

Now some folks, like myself, may have experienced even longer outages. Several years ago, a huge ice storm knocked power out where I lived for over 36 hours, and for another 6-8 hours the power was intermittent.

Long term power outages are extremely rare, but when they happen it can lead to a whole host of issues. One of which is the perishable food items in your fridge going bad.

If you experience a short term power outage, there won’t be much concern over your perishable food items. But if the outage is more long term, or even “God-forbid” permanent, you might start thinking about what foods you should eat first before they go bad. Or you might wonder if you can refreeze last night’s leftover potato casserole.

Well, here are some pointers to help you should you ever find yourself in that situation.

Refrigerator

Typically, a normal refrigerator will keep things below 40 degrees F for about 4-6 hours after it loses power. This can vary some depending upon other factors, such as the size and settings of the refrigerator and how often you open and close the door. But it is a good rule of thumb.

However, once the refrigerator gets above 40 degrees, the clock is now ticking for many items inside. Below is a list of items that need to be thrown out if they go above 40 degrees F for 2 hours or longer. So eat these items first! (If you do not know how long your fridge has been above 40 degrees, better to err on the side of caution and toss these items.)
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Bullying – What you need to know to protect your kids

Bully1alamy_2225842bYears ago, the bully was the big kid who terrorized us during recess or tried to “extort” our lunch and milk money. It was considered a rite of passage and “just a part of growing up”. But bullying has now been characterized as a devastating form of abuse and harassment, and rightfully so.

Today, bullying has become much more pervasive and has taken on new methods that has led, in many cases, to serious physical and mental abuse and even suicide by traumatized victims.

With summer vacation winding down and kids all across the country returning to school, I thought I’d take a look at bullying, and what you can do to protect your children.

What is “Bullying?”

Bullying is defined as any unwanted, aggressive and repeated behavior over time using force or coercion against another to intimidate and/or dominate, either verbally or physically, the bully’s intended target. The “target” is typically is perceived as weaker and more vulnerable than the aggressor.

Kids and teens who bully use their power or perceived power (physical, age, popularity, etc.) to control, intimidate, or harm other kids. Consequences to the victims include low self-esteem, isolation, a feeling of hopelessness and lack of self-worth, physical/medical problems, serious injury, and even suicide. In addition, the victims of bullying are more inclined to use alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and engage in reckless sexual behavior.

Bullying behavior may be motivated as a way to be popular or seem tough, to get attention, to act out of the bully’s own insecurity, to join a group where bullying is part of its culture, and/or jealousy of the victim or they. Many times the bullies themselves have been victimized by other bullies, and in turn perpetuate the cycle.
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How and Why I built a vehicle emergency kit for SHTF

vehiclekitAccording to the US Dept. of Transportation, there were over 253,000,000 cars registered in the US in 2012. Chances are, you probably own at least one of those vehicles. And if you are like many Americans, you probably commute to and from work, use your vehicle to run errands, and take road trips and vacations with it. This means you spend a lot of time in your car.

But what happens if disaster strikes when you are in your vehicle? What if you need your vehicle to get home DURING a disaster, or OUT of a disaster area? Is it prepared and able to help you? If you aren’t sure, then read on to learn how you can prepare your vehicle for a crisis situation!

Start with a Plan

If you have been following this blog, you know that I advocate beginning anything with a plan. All the gear in the world won’t be of much value without a plan or the knowledge of how it works and in what situations to use it. I would first sit down and determine not the worst case scenario, but the most likely scenarios. The chances of you having a flat tire or being caught in a massive traffic jam are MUCH more probable than an EMP attack.

I talk about this in my article 3 Types of Preppers You Don’t Want to Be.

Once you have your bases covered on the most likely events, then start looking at worse case possibilities.

Do you live in an area that experiences hurricanes? Tornados? Is there a chance that you might need to “bug out” to get out of harm’s way? If so, you need to have an evacuation route (and at least one backup route) planned. I’d also have some possible contingency plans in place as well for unforeseen events.

To help you draw up some evacuation plans, I thought I’d give you some pointers and things to consider when drawing up your plans:

  • Have a final destination already planned out. Simply bugging out into the unknown should be the LAST thing you want to do
  • If you have multiple members of your group/family, the chances of you all being together at the time disaster strikes is slim and none. Make sure everyone in your group knows the plans and the final location.
  • I would have pre-determined rally point along the way to meet at if your final location is a long way off. You might also devise a means of communicating with them should the rally point become unsafe
  • Know the routes AND the area in general ahead of time. Where are the gas stations? Is there a grocery store nearby? A hospital? What other points of interest are along your intented route?
  • How many different ways do you have of getting to your destination? Your primary route may suddenly no longer be accessible, so have contingency plans in place for different routes to take or even different means of getting to your final location
  • Do you have not only the gear you need, but a way of safely and securely transporting it?
  • Identify areas that you could potentially cache supplies. Are there friendly areas (a friend’s house for example) that you could make a pit stop if needed?
  • Identify areas that could potentially be choke points or trouble spots, and ways to avoid them

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10 Misleading Food “Labels” and What They REALLY Mean

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Part of being prepared is keeping your mind and body in decent shape. Eating right and exercise should be something you do every day. But sometimes that is not always easy. Especially when you aren’t sure if what you are eating is really healthy or not. Hopefully this article will begin to show you that sometimes, what you think is healthy may not be.

Hopefully, you are more conscience about what you eat AND what goes into the food you eat. America has become caught up in a health food craze. (That’s not a bad thing!) And trust me, the “food industry” is taking notice.

For example, many fast food restaurants are now offering “healthy” alternatives. More research is being done into GMOs. And more “health food” stores are springing up.

As a result, food companies are changing their labels and how their food is packaged and presented to the public. But as always, some of this can be a bit misleading. Here are 10 “misleading” food labels, and what they really mean!

All-Natural

Labeling food “natural” or “all-natural” is a really just a way to get people to think that the product is healthier than others because it comes from nature. In fact, “all-natural” is an very general and vague term for which the FDA doesn’t even have an officially recognized definition.

According to the USDA, meat can be labeled “all-natural” as long as it doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients or chemical preservatives. However, it can be full of broth or saline water.
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Preparedness tips from a veteran police officer
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